Rating: 5 stars
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After unexpectedly catching the attention of the crown prince while trying to save his friend from an unwarranted thrashing, Emmett finds himself in a predicament that could shame him and his family. The tables are turned when Prince Andrewe offers Emmett a place at his side, to be at his beck and call, to service him in any way he sees fit. The lure of Emmett’s attraction to the prince is too strong for him to deny the offer.
Emmett soon finds himself in love with the fickle, bratty, selfish, possessive prince, but his emotions have several ups and downs. After a secret outing that ends with an attempt on Andrewe’s life leads to a severe punishment for Emmett, he begins to question his heart’s loyalties when the prince doesn’t stand on his behalf and instead walks away without a look or word to Emmett to let the lashing commence. Confused by the prince’s actions that seem to run hot and cold, Emmett questions his ability to love a man who would allow him to be hurt or who would even hurt Emmett himself.
When Thomas, an old family friend, begins whispering in Emmett’s ear about rebellion against the royal family, Emmett stands at an impasse. His loyalty to the prince, and thus the royal family, should outweigh all else. But some of the things Thomas says make sense enough to give Emmett pause. In the end, Emmett must make an impossible decision between love, duty, and honour, any of which may lead to his and Andrewe’s eternal happiness or Emmett’s death.
This book, ladies and gentlemen, is a must read. It’s the first book that I’ve read from this author, and I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. I could hardly put the book down. The story itself is an emotional battle of highs and lows, love and hate, confusion and deception, betrayal and survival. It was not only an emotional battle for the characters, but for me as well. My heart was torn and pieced back together and then broken again, the same as Emmett’s. I was forced to read through tears at times because I couldn’t put the book down. For me, it was a rollercoaster ride of heartwarming love, passion, fear, and confusion. And I loved every second of it. This author has given readers a story that is beautifully written and captivating. There’s romance, mystery, and action at every turn.
Emmett is wonderfully complex. On the one hand, he’s blunt and sarcastic. He’s idealistic and has definite problems with the monarchy. On the other hand, he’s optimistic and hopeful. He’s loving and protective. He doesn’t want to be used, but he also wants to be loved as much as he loves Andrewe. I loved him. I absolutely love that Emmett is, by no means, perfect. He has the best intentions, but he still makes mistakes. Sometimes drastic mistakes. He is strong and caring and honorable. In my eyes, his imperfections make him perfect.
I had mixed feelings for Andrewe in the beginning , but I ended up head over heels for him. At first, he seems selfish and ridiculously overindulgent. But I think mostly he’s a man born into a position that he is doing his best to fill without screwing it up, and yes, still spolied. He’s confused and lost, and having Emmett in his life gives him some semblance of control that he’s afraid he will lose. He’s a study in spoiled royals, but is given a degree of altruism, compassion, and love that makes him endearing and human.
The story is set in England, sometime after the discovery of America but when the monarch still had more power than the British parliament. I’d say somewhere around the 1500s, maybe early 1600s. That’s only a guess. The world is given life under Henley’s direction. The castle, the servants, the royal family, the rebels – I had no problem believing and imagining even the tiniest details as this author drew amazing pictures through words.
I don’t read a lot in the historical genre. They tend to bore me with pretentious speech and long drawn out descriptions of historical events or even landmarks. It just hasn’t been for me in the past. But there was something about this book that attracted me immediately – be it the cover or the blurb, I don’t know. I’ve been waiting for Honour to release for weeks, and I’m so glad that I noticed it. Not once was I bored or confused by superfluous speech. It is a historical but also relatable, in a way that drew me in from the very first chapter. It’s made me question my hesitancy to read historical stories.
There is nothing about this story that I don’t love. From the fictional royals to the cabin boy turned cook’s apprentice. From the idealistic merchant’s son to the bratty heir to the throne. From the blind obedience of the men-at-arms to the willful rebellion of Thomas and his followers. The onslaught of emotions that this book brings is overwhelming and beautiful and awe-inspiring. I can’t wait to read more of this author’s works in the future. I highly, highly recommend Honour by A.F. Henley
Cover: I love this cover by Megan Derr. It’s beautiful, simple, and – best of all – regal. Absolutely perfect.